Developers can gate apps behind subscriptions, within limits, Apple says

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in iPhone
Incoming App Store policies will not only allow any app to offer a subscription, but in many cases enable developers to gate all of their content behind one, according to Apple.




Users can be immediately greeted with a login screen, MacWorld confirmed with Apple. While that tactic has been allowed for publications and streaming media services in the past -- Netflix being an example -- the same approach will soon be applicable elsewhere, within limits.

Apps in other categories will have to "make sense" in terms of their business model, Apple explained. The company's developer website points out that subscriptions must "provide ongoing value worth the recurring payment" for auto-renewing subscriptions to be deemed justified.

It's unknown how Apple might judge what constitutes "ongoing value," but the rule is presumably in place to safeguard against scams, as well as broader abuse of the system that could discourage people from downloading apps.

The new subscription policies take effect June 13. To encourage adoption, Apple will also be halving its revenue cut from subscriptions to 15 percent for customers that stay signed up for at least a year -- excluding a 60-day window during which a person can cancel and resubscribe and the app developer will still get their improved share.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 19
    john.bjohn.b Posts: 2,720member
    I think we're done with apps from the App Store at Casa de john.b...
    edited June 2016 tallest skil
  • Reply 2 of 19
    dick applebaumdick applebaum Posts: 12,520member

     Apple will also be halving its revenue cut from subscriptions to 15 percent for customers that stay signed up for at least a year -- excluding a 60-day window during which a person can cancel and resubscribe and the app developer will still get their improved share.

    Keeping track of individual user subscription subscribe/cancel/resubscribe dates seems like a lot of non-productive busy work.  I suspect that this will devolve to subscriptions  are 85/15 period!

    ai46
  • Reply 3 of 19

     Apple will also be halving its revenue cut from subscriptions to 15 percent for customers that stay signed up for at least a year -- excluding a 60-day window during which a person can cancel and resubscribe and the app developer will still get their improved share.

    Keeping track of individual user subscription subscribe/cancel/resubscribe dates seems like a lot of non-productive busy work.  I suspect that this will devolve to subscriptions  are 85/15 period!

    I'm pretty sure the system already keeps track of subscription length. 
    TurboPGTracerhomie
  • Reply 4 of 19
    rogifan_newrogifan_new Posts: 4,106member
    Apple should just allow subscriptions period. They don't need to be the arbiter of what "makes sense". We've already seen how many times they reject an app only to allow it back after enough outcry. If I'm a developer I don't want to spend all this time developing an app and putting together a business plan/model only to have Apple reject the app during review because they don't think it "makes sense" to offer a subscription.
  • Reply 5 of 19
    Apps such as Navigon (GPS) & Storm (weather) already effectively offer subscriptions in the form of annual add ons? Is the 'Gold Rush' over? Does what seems an intent to move Apple to an annual revenue stream of 15% vs a one time app fee of 30% risk losing an awful lot of customers ? It will certainly trim my inventory of any apps I might not use regularly, and in the end I may buy far less memory in my hardware as a result...?
  • Reply 6 of 19
    TurboPGTTurboPGT Posts: 355member
    They don't need to be the arbiter of what "makes sense". 
    Uh, yes they do, thank you very much.
    Their common sense curation is what has made the App Store a success and every other app distribution platform an unmitigated disaster.
    Rayz2016tallest skilracerhomie
  • Reply 7 of 19
    crowleycrowley Posts: 5,935member

    Apps in other categories will have to "make sense" in terms of their business model, Apple explained. The company's developer website points out that subscriptions must "provide ongoing value worth the recurring payment" for auto-renewing subscriptions to be deemed justified.
    Excellent. I have no idea how this will be judged or enforced, but it's encouraging that Apple has added this stipulation to fend off bad practice.
    TurboPGT
  • Reply 8 of 19
    rogifan_newrogifan_new Posts: 4,106member
    TurboPGT said:
    They don't need to be the arbiter of what "makes sense". 
    Uh, yes they do, thank you very much.
    Their common sense curation is what has made the App Store a success and every other app distribution platform an unmitigated disaster.
    Um no. I don't need Apple to tell me whether something is worth a subscription or not. They shouldn't be dictating business models for app developers. Let the market decide. If something is not worthy of a subscription people won't buy it.
  • Reply 9 of 19
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 4,634member
    TurboPGT said:
    Uh, yes they do, thank you very much.
    Their common sense curation is what has made the App Store a success and every other app distribution platform an unmitigated disaster.
    Um no. I don't need Apple to tell me whether something is worth a subscription or not. They shouldn't be dictating business models for app developers. Let the market decide. If something is not worthy of a subscription people won't buy it.
    And while people are deciding, the rest of the app store becomes a scammer's cesspit.

    No thanks.
    TurboPGT
  • Reply 10 of 19
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,271member
    Agree with Rogifan.   Let it operate as a Free Market.  Developers that make the wrong decision will realize it soon enough. 
  • Reply 11 of 19
    rcfarcfa Posts: 773member
    No subscriptions, ever! Subscriptions are basically taxes levied by private enterprises. Sell something, or go out of business. Period! Basta!
  • Reply 12 of 19
    peteopeteo Posts: 365member
    Wonder how enterprise will like this new subscript based model for apps. How will this work with VPP?
  • Reply 13 of 19
    stevehsteveh Posts: 480member
    rcfa said:
    No subscriptions, ever! Subscriptions are basically taxes levied by private enterprises. Sell something, or go out of business. Period! Basta!
    Or ... just let users decide. If enough choose against subscriptions, they'll die in the market (subscription-based applications, not necessarily reluctant users). Don't like subscriptions? Don't buy the product, simple. Like I probably will never again buy any Adobe product, because they've gone to a subscription model. Interesting how there are more Photoshop-competitive products on the market now, as well as alternatives to the rest of Adobe's product line.

    As for "taxes"? Oh come on. Until and unless a software company (or magazine or newspaper) can force you to continue paying in to a subscription, like local/county/state/federal governments can (and do), it's not a "tax".

    A subscription is "something to sell", a service, generally. Try not to hyperventilate excessively; there's no guy behind the curtain with a gun trained on your head.
  • Reply 14 of 19
    TurboPGTTurboPGT Posts: 355member
    rcfa said:
    No subscriptions, ever! Subscriptions are basically taxes levied by private enterprises. Sell something, or go out of business. Period! Basta!
    Right so you think Netflix should charge you a flat fee and you have now have unlimited access to content for life? Get this guy a business to run, he's going places!
  • Reply 15 of 19
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 4,767member
    steveh said:
    rcfa said:
    No subscriptions, ever! Subscriptions are basically taxes levied by private enterprises. Sell something, or go out of business. Period! Basta!
    Or ... just let users decide. If enough choose against subscriptions, they'll die in the market (subscription-based applications, not necessarily reluctant users). Don't like subscriptions? Don't buy the product, simple. Like I probably will never again buy any Adobe product, because they've gone to a subscription model. Interesting how there are more Photoshop-competitive products on the market now, as well as alternatives to the rest of Adobe's product line.

    As for "taxes"? Oh come on. Until and unless a software company (or magazine or newspaper) can force you to continue paying in to a subscription, like local/county/state/federal governments can (and do), it's not a "tax".

    A subscription is "something to sell", a service, generally. Try not to hyperventilate excessively; there's no guy behind the curtain with a gun trained on your head.
    Subscription are good for established service (like Adobe Suite), or very expensive product you want to try out before committing too.
    For small inexpensive unknown apps /games, probably not a good idea.
  • Reply 16 of 19
    VisualSeedVisualSeed Posts: 217member
    TurboPGT said:
    They don't need to be the arbiter of what "makes sense". 
    Uh, yes they do, thank you very much.
    Their common sense curation is what has made the App Store a success and every other app distribution platform an unmitigated disaster.
    The few the rejections that received public outcry are a small price to pay for the thousands of apps Apple outright rejected that we don't ever have to be bothered with.
  • Reply 17 of 19
    london11london11 Posts: 62member
    I don't quite get this.  

    What is the advantage(s) to the user? I mean, will apps/subscriptions be cheaper? And will they only be cheaper if someone stays subscribed for more than 12 months? 
    Or is this just about the developper getting more money/control?

    You'll still be paying for a subscription monthly anyway?
    I prefer to pay this through iTunes when it's the same price as it's so much more hassle-free to start and stop as you wish without having to email and call and beg Customer Services. Plus, I don't think I stay subscribed to any magazine or service for more than a couple of months each time.  Netflix tends to be 1 month on, 1 month off for me for example.
    edited June 2016
  • Reply 18 of 19
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,224moderator
    london11 said:
    I don't quite get this.  

    What is the advantage(s) to the user? I mean, will apps/subscriptions be cheaper? And will they only be cheaper if someone stays subscribed for more than 12 months? 
    Or is this just about the developper getting more money/control?

    You'll still be paying for a subscription monthly anyway?
    Companies are always looking for ways to make payments less objectionable to customers. Games especially have a problem where higher upfront prices put people off buying at all and in-app purchases during games feel like a rip-off. Say that EA brought their EA Access subscription to mobile, it means they can charge something like $1.99 per month and you get every game they make as long as you are subscribed (the games can stop loading outside of the subscription):

    http://www.ea.com/mobile#10

    Obviously you could just play them all in a week and unsubscribe but that's unlikely as there's a lot of games and it gives you unrestricted freedom to discover which games you like. They can remove some in-app payment blocks with the subscription, which makes each game experience more enjoyable. This also helps avoid things like this happening:

    http://www.ign.com/articles/2015/09/13/ea-removes-dead-space-flight-control-and-more-from-app-store

    People will always be paying so they can keep older games working, which makes the game library larger. If EA can convince just 10 million people to pay $1.99/month, that's $239 million per year of recurring revenue just from iOS. Last year, EA made $548 million from all mobile platforms but they have to market all their games and figure out how to monetize each one.

    It would be good if Apple had a subscription themselves and the amount would be divided between the apps based on usage but I guess 3rd parties can come up with their own conglomerates like the Macupdate app bundles.

    This can be how Apple gets away from iAd by having people in a global App Store subscription. Companies could remove ads completely because if a customer was using their app all the time, the developer would get a higher portion of their subscription revenue. If someone was addicted to a game like Flappy Bird, they'd maybe get 2000 ad impressions in a month normally, which can be $2 from that person. Instead, that person would have an ad-free experience and almost the entirety of their subscription fee (Apple's global subscription wouldn't have to be $1.99) would go to that developer for that month. There could be a base amount for each app used so 25% of the subscription divided between all apps equally if they are launched in that month and the remaining 75% divided by frequency of use.

    Apple's subscription can even work across music and video. The content providers would just opt-in to the system and their content becomes accessible to subscribers. The ones who feel like they aren't making enough revenue can opt-out and roll their own subscription plan or use another payment method.

    Subscriptions are just another option for publishers and developers, if it doesn't work for them or their customers, they won't use it.
    edited June 2016
  • Reply 19 of 19
    VisualSeedVisualSeed Posts: 217member
    london11 said:
    I don't quite get this.  

    What is the advantage(s) to the user? I mean, will apps/subscriptions be cheaper? And will they only be cheaper if someone stays subscribed for more than 12 months? 
    Or is this just about the developper getting more money/control?

    You'll still be paying for a subscription monthly anyway?
    I prefer to pay this through iTunes when it's the same price as it's so much more hassle-free to start and stop as you wish without having to email and call and beg Customer Services. Plus, I don't think I stay subscribed to any magazine or service for more than a couple of months each time.  Netflix tends to be 1 month on, 1 month off for me for example.
    For the most part I don't think this really affects the majority of the apps already in the store. There are a small percentage of apps the either require a subscription for content like streaming media and news or have a cloud component that requires an ongoing payment. There is also a class of apps that are considered Pro or Pro-sumer which require an incredible amount of development effort. My experience with many of these apps is they cost  $20 - $50 and historically have only lasted for a few updates before requiring users to repurchase the app named something slightly different to continue receiving updates and enhancement to the app. Subscriptions should give developers a better way to charge for significant upgrades without creating a convoluted experience for their users. I don't think apps like games, camera apps and photo editors are going to benefit from subscriptions. One time cost and in-app purchases seem to be a better model for them. 
    edited June 2016
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